Churches help cut hospital mortality rate

Sept. 23, 2011 at 9:22 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- U.S. hospitals are getting together with faith-based groups in an effort to improve care and cut costs, a health official says.

OhioHealth worked with 43 local congregations for 20 years -- each congregation has a volunteer nurse trained in diabetes, nutrition, communicating with doctors and living with chronic diseases, who then shares the information with the congregants, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported.

Mara Vanderslice Kelly, acting director of faith-based and neighborhood partnerships for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said another program at the Methodist LeBonheur Hospital in Memphis involves about 400 congregations.

Volunteer liaisons from each church are trained to help patients understand doctors' instructions and ensure they get the next steps of care.

The program saved the Memphis hospital $4 million, reduced mortality by 50 percent and reduced hospital re-admissions by 20 percent, Vanderslice Kelly said.

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